Let’s cut through the b.s. of the lovely agency brochures, the glowing endorsements on agency blogs, and the romanticized picture of a delightful young person shepherding our kids across the park to the playground.
Why do we really have au pairs as child caregivers?
Why are we opening up our homes, and sometimes even our hearts, to these people we don’t know?
If you poll a group of au pairs on a bad day, they’ll tell you what they suspect:
Families get au pairs because au pairs are inexpensive childcare.
The other stuff, the cultural exchange stuff? That’s all a distraction to make people feel better about paying au pairs so little.
Well, they just might be right. About some families.
The Real Reason(s) for getting an Au Pair
Costs matter, but that’s not why my DH and I chose to get an au pair over other kinds of childcare.
Our #1 reason was flexibility. As a professor I had a demanding but flexible schedule, where my days had only temporary routines. We needed a different pattern of hours every 8 weeks. We had homes in two cities and we traveled back and forth between them. No other form of childcare was going to work with that kind of life. Plus, my best friend had an au pair and really liked the host family experience.
And how about you?
Image by Cathy Nichols. Go to her shop on Etsy and see why I love her paintings.
It’s not just for the owls, ‘tho they are adorable, aren’t they?